When Transition Threatens Your Peace
Recently, my husband and I bought our first home together. After renting for 7.5 years, we found the perfect home and made an offer. While this has been a thrilling time, the transition has stolen all of my norms and routines. I can’t find anything, there are boxes everywhere, and when I want to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, I think of a dozen things I should be doing instead. In the past 14 days, I have met with the Lord about twice. And those were both at church on Sundays!
Transitional seasons come into our lives often. You might not be moving this Christmas, but I’m sure you’ve experienced a change of circumstance you weren’t exactly anticipating. Out-of-town visitors for the holidays … a sudden job change for a spouse … the loss of a loved one … an illness or accident that forces you to slow down.
These transitional seasons can threaten our peace and steal the rhythms we’ve come to rely upon if we aren’t prepared. It is easy to push aside meeting with the Lord for a later time, hoping things will calm down eventually and allow us to jump back into our norms.
So how can we possibly behold the perfect Lamb of God in the midst of these transitional seasons, not just when they subside? Slowing down and savoring the Lord in the middle of transition requires intentionality. It won’t happen by chance. Here are three practical, Spirit-empowered ways you can do the heart work toward beholding the Lamb if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by unexpected transitions this Christmas season.
Cut Something Out During Transition
Saying no to good things requires discipline and commitment just as much as saying yes does. When presented with a good opportunity, we rarely want to decline a chance to do something we enjoy. But what if you started asking yourself: Does this thing draw me closer to Jesus, or simply fill up my calendar?
2 Corinthians 9:7 teaches, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” This verse is usually quoted in reference to tithing or other financial giving, but I don’t think it ends there. I believe God also loves when we give cheerfully of ourselves, our time, and our energy. When we say yes reluctantly to dozens of events and opportunities, it becomes easy to say no to time with the Lord.
Transitional seasons often bring about extra busyness. Change in plans and new circumstances usually push us toward non-stop movement in an attempt to reclaim our normal routines and rhythms. We crave consistency but instead find ourselves grasping for any bit of normalcy.
If you’re in the midst of transition, fight hard against extra busyness. Ask yourself what can be cut out. What is absolutely necessary and fruitful? Be realistic about your limits and set clear boundaries. Have you added something to your plate that could be given to someone else? Did you agree without checking your calendar? If you find yourself faced with a new opportunity, ask for time to pray about it—then actually pray about it!
Cultivate Space for Quiet
I have found that intentionally carving quiet time out of my schedule makes way for obedience. When I look at my calendar and see blank space, a few hours of nothing, it’s a reminder to pray. I ask the Lord, “What do you want me to do with this time?” Sometimes it may be just resting, or catching up on emails and texts. Other times, a friend might call and need to talk, and I have the margin to focus all my energy on simply being present.
I’ve found scheduling time to meet with the Lord to be a very practical way to find consistency in the midst of transition. It doesn’t sound as organic or free—I’d love to just fall into worship constantly! But realistically, my propensity to fill up my schedule with lesser things often distracts me from forming a habit of worship. When I carve out time to meet with the Lord, I’m making a commitment to Him before the time slips away.
Cultivate space to draw near to the Lord during this transition. Set reminders on your phone to pray. Add time with the Lord to your calendar and put your Bible and journal out in preparation. Christ is worthy of your time, friend. Do whatever it takes to carve out space to meet with Him and pursue obedience in the middle of the chaos.
Create Rhythms that Revolve Around Christ
If you find yourself wishing for more time to meet with the Lord in this transitional time, make him the center of your rhythms and routines. Pick out a family-friendly Advent resource and read it around the table before dinner. Keep your Bible open on the kitchen table and read a verse to your spouse over coffee in the morning. Play worship music in the car. Listen to Scripture on your Bible app as you clean the house or put the dishes away. Instead of viewing your “quiet time” as a totally separate event, integrate your time with the Lord into your day (Colossians 3:17). Carve out time with the Lord to ground the other moments of uncertainty.
The beauty of Scripture is we carry it with us as we go (Psalm 119:11). When you have a few moments to spare in line for groceries as you prepare for a family gathering, meditate on a verse. As you wait in line at the post office, pray for your neighbors. Don’t separate your time with the Lord from your time doing all the other things on your calendar. Integrate them and surrender each task to Him. It may feel challenging at first, but you’ll slowly start to see the freedom of walking in the Spirit throughout your day (Galatians 5:16).
Commit Your Christmas in Transition to Christ
This Christmas, don’t let transition steal your growth in the Lord. Submit your plans, activities, and busy calendar to the Lord and ask for guidance on how to honor Him above all (Proverbs 16:3). Things may look different than years past, but that means new opportunities to see God at work.
Listen when the Spirit guides you to stay home and be present. Pay attention when a friend needs to talk, even if you have a long list of to-dos waiting for you. Savor the Lord more than you value checking things off the list. Watch how your heart will be transformed by beholding the Lamb of God this Christmas!
Walk in Grace When You Fail
I’d love to see a revolution of women who push all our excuses aside and savor Christ this Christmas. But realistically, I know that change takes time and good things creep into our calendars. Transition uproots all we know and love, forcing us into new routines. So I want to encourage you to walk in grace when you fall off the wagon—and jump right back on.
Change is gradual and habits take time to form. This Christmas may not look perfect, but it can be a step toward faithfully abiding in Christ. We currently have boxes in every corner of every room, and I have absolutely zero idea where the wrapping paper is. But when I start to feel overwhelmed by the in-between, I’m pausing to praise God for His provision of our new home. Each day in a season of transition is a new opportunity to receive grace and walk in obedience.
Jesus is there to meet us, even on the hard days. The Spirit has not left us alone to figure things out by ourselves! He goes before us and dwells within us. Let’s lean into Him, even when we feel overwhelmed and suffocated by the busy. He’s there, even in the midst of transition, and His grace is sufficient in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).